President George Vella has kept his criticism of the Israeli state up – even as Malta’s Michela hopes to come out on top in tomorrow’s Eurovision final in Tel Aviv.
Vella, who is known to be steadfast in his humanitarian principles, has long criticised Israel for the occupation and inhumane treatment of over four million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
“I do, it’s even worse now, it’s even worse,” Vella said when asked whether he believed Israel was still suppressing the Palestinian people in an interview with Times Talk this week.
“Having two million people enclosed in an area as big as Malta, making their life absolutely miserable to start with, then having three million Palestinians in the occupied territories being threatened by annihilation… saying they want to take their lands… I think it’s one of the big issues I wish to see settled before I die,” he said passionately.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict really ramped up around 70 years ago, when the state of Israel was established in contested Palestinian lands
Since then, tens of thousands of people have been killed and injured in regular outbreaks of violence and due to a low standard of living and medical assistance in Israeli-occupied lands.
“I only hope to God that some sense goes into the heads of the people who are deciding these things, firstly, Hamas not to carry on starting quarrels by firing hundreds and thousands of missiles, and secondly for the Israelis to honestly start believing that these people deserve their own rights and their dignity restored,” Vella continued.
“Even though, let me be honest, this decision by Israel to open up the two crossings for longer periods and more frequently to me is very important, even that they’ve extended the fishing zones for Gazans again,” he said.
Vella had previously called the situation “a case of ethnic suppression… if not ethnic cleansing” while he was Foreign Affairs Minister
“It hurts to have to admit that the two-state solution is gradually fading into oblivion. The past 70 years were an ongoing catastrophe – an ongoing Nakba [Palestinian Exodus] – as Israeli policy was one of ‘might is right’.”